PROVO The city's plan to offer landlords reduced fees per rental unit for conducting background checks on potential renters will have to wait until after the next legislative session.
Provo officials for several months have considered implementing a Good Landlord Plan similar to programs in Ogden and West Valley City. Under the plan, landlords who conduct criminal background checks on prospective tenants pay lower fees per rental unit compared to those landlords who opt not to perform the checks.
But it appears the proposed Provo ordinance will be put on the back burner for at least six months. According to Utah Code, a city cannot implement a disproportionate fee unless it conducted a municipal service study before Jan. 1, 2007.
In a Tuesday morning work meeting, Neil Lindberg, attorney for the City Council, said the conditional clause has been called an "inadvertent error" and said the Utah League of Cities and Towns along with other organizations will work to remove it from the code books during the next legislative session.
"For now we'll just have to hold on until that matter is corrected," Lindberg said.
Initially, the City Council drafted an ordinance mandating landlords conduct criminal background checks on all prospective renters or risk losing their rental license. The ordinance did, however, make an exception for students who could prove they attend "an institution of higher education which maintains a code of conduct."
The ordinance has since been overhauled to make criminal background checks optional in exchange for reduced fees for rental units.Since adopting the Good Landlord Program, Ogden and West Valley have seen a reduction of 12 percent and 30 percent respectively in calls for police and fire services in rental neighborhoods, according to Paul Smith, executive director of Utah Apartment Association.